DNG - anyone using it instead of RAW?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Troy Piggins, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. Troy Piggins

    Troy Piggins Guest

    Been reading the excellent book "The DAM Book, Digital Asset
    Management for Photographers" by Peter Krogh. He pretty strongly
    supports Adobe's DNG format over RAW files, although he's not
    bagging RAW, just putting a good case forward for DNG.

    If you don't want to read the book, there is much of it at this
    website and while it's a bit of a read, in this day and age I
    think it's important to at least skim through and have a basic


    I'm wondering what your thoughts are? Anyone here using it?

    I am using Lightroom pretty heavily these days and plan to
    continue with it for a long time. It does much/most of the
    PIEWare functions, I love working non-destructively with the
    RAW files. Just not sure if I should convert everything to DNG.
    I like the potential to have everything in the same file, no
    sidecar files etc. Also like the lossless compression, disk
    space saving possibilities. Don't know if I could completely do
    away with the RAW files and was thinking about including them in
    the DNG so they could be retrieved if wanted/needed. But that
    kinda negates the space saving feature.
    Troy Piggins, Apr 17, 2011
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  2. Troy Piggins

    tony cooper Guest

    I shoot Nikon, so my RAW images are .NEF files. They are converted in
    Bridge to .DNG files when uploaded. They are still a RAW image
    tony cooper, Apr 17, 2011
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  3. Troy Piggins

    Alan Browne Guest

    I've been using DNG exclusively since DNG came out and discard the raw.
    It does save space. I convert to DNG while loading from the card in
    Bridge. This allows re-naming, tagging a bit of other data while
    converting. So the raw is never stored on the computer at all. Once I
    delete the files on the card it's gone (well, I could do a card recovery
    at that point).

    Raw files from my camera are about 33 MB. With DNG they are 16 - 18 MB.
    There are no sidecars. If I ever get a MacAir with SSD or an iPad for
    travel, then compressing to DNG will save needed space for all the
    photos taken (not there yet).

    If you include the raw as-is in the DNG, then you have no space savings
    - on the contrary, depending how it's set up, could really use a lot
    more space.

    For either Canon or Nikon there is a downside, perhaps, in losing some
    of the "shot time" information when converting to DNG and discarding the
    raw. I don't recall the particulars, but you may want to check that out
    before committing to DNG.
    Alan Browne, Apr 17, 2011
  4. Troy Piggins

    Alex Monro Guest

    DNG is an in camera option for the RAW output of my Pentax K20D, and the
    only RAW format of my Samsung GX10. However, my main chosen RAW
    conversion software, Bibble 5, considers them to be different, probably
    because of the differing luminance curves.
    Alex Monro, Apr 17, 2011
  5. DNG _is_ RAW. It's just a camera-mfr-independent file format for holding the
    raw data.
    I used DNG briefly while waiting for LR to add support for a new camera I
    had. Adobe can provide updates to their free DNG converter faster than they
    can update LR. But that's only an issue for folks trying to become road kill
    in the early adopter fast lane.

    The problem that DNG claims to solve is that many years from now, the
    raw-conversion software you want to use might not support your particular
    camera's RAW format.

    The problem that DNG causes is that if you want to try a different raw
    converter, it may not support DNG, so you'll be unhappy if you don't have
    your original files.

    I like Lightroom. A lot. But people keep claiming that such and such a
    program does a better job. With Canon, there are a lot of (vocal<g>) fans of
    Canon's raw converter, which has one of the worst UIs in the history of the
    peecee. Then there's Silkypix, Phase One, and DxO. Lots of choices. Dunno
    how many of them support DNG, or will continue to 20 years from now.
    You must not be using Canon<g>.
    David J. Littleboy, Apr 17, 2011
  6. I think Canon's UI is klunky but OK.

    What is not OK is its treatment of highlights. Highlights that
    are not blown and look fine when I use Photoshop to read the raw
    file often look terrible when using Canon's DPP. On the flip
    side, DPP's lateral chromatic correction UI is better.

    What I do is look at the file (saved as raw) in Canon's
    ZoomBrowser, and decide whether I want to use DPP or Photoshop.
    The good news is that with raw, I can change my mind
    with no loss.

    Doug McDonald
    Doug McDonald, Apr 17, 2011
  7. Troy Piggins

    Troy Piggins Guest

    * tony cooper wrote :
    Thanks mate.
    Troy Piggins, Apr 17, 2011
  8. Troy Piggins

    Troy Piggins Guest

    * Alan Browne wrote :
    Yeah, that's kinda what's making me a bit tentative at the
    moment. Losing the actual camera-captured RAW file. Kinda
    putting your eggs in one basket hoping that DNG will be around
    forever and always supported etc.

    In some ways, I think it's a safe bet. Adobe has the market with
    Photoshop, and more recently everyone has followed suit adopting
    PDF. So in many ways, I think DNG will win out and become a bit
    of a standard.

    But by the same token, I'm worried about losing the actual data
    my camera collected. Canon's CR2 format is best known by Canon,
    Adobe has just reverse-engineered the files to read and convert
    Yes, see my above hesitations on completely losing the CR2 files.

    Thanks Alan.
    Troy Piggins, Apr 17, 2011
  9. That klunky is pretty horrific given how nice LR is.

    I haven't used a recent version of DPP, but there used to not be an
    equivalent to LR's "Exposure" slider, which allows you to convert different
    "windows" into the raw data. DPP used to have a "linear conversion" thing
    that would get the whole range (no blown highlights that weren't blown in
    raw, no crushed black not crushed in raw, and extreme low contrast).
    OK. I've been happy with CA correction in LR: it does what I need and does
    it well. But I've moved to lenses that don't have much CA (Zeiss 21/2.8,
    Canon 24 TSE II), so I just need a touch of CA adjustment some of the time.
    I have a Sigma 20/1.8 lying around here somewhere that desperately needs
    help with CA reduction...
    Yep. I'm more worried about maybe wanting to work with one of the others.
    I'm not sure I'm happy with sharpening in the latest version of LR: it tends
    to aggravate noise sooner than I'd expect. I tend to oversharpen, since I
    like textures brought out more than is perhaps reasonable, and I'd like a
    very different sharpening algorithm: one that doesn't touch the high
    contrast edges and only sharpens surfaces. But doesn't sharpen noise.
    David J. Littleboy, Apr 17, 2011
  10. Troy Piggins

    Troy Piggins Guest

    * David J. Littleboy wrote :
    In some ways, yes. But it's actually more than that. It's more
    of a RAW file container, because it can contain RAW data but also
    the sidecar information from editing, multiple previews etc as
    I think I'll be sticking with LR for quite some time. Finding
    I'm getting better at editing less because it's right in-camera
    more these days. I rarely use PhotoShop now, just for the very
    intensive astrophotography processing. If I need to edit an
    image in PS these days, it's probably because I really stuffed it
    at image capture time and I'll likely not really be happy with
    the shot anyway. What a snob, eh? :)
    I am using Canon. ;)
    Troy Piggins, Apr 17, 2011
  11. Troy Piggins

    C J Campbell Guest

    I do not use DNG, but landscape photographers like Marc Muench use it
    almost exclusively. Marc reasons that the camera manufacturers' raw
    formats are constantly changing with the introduction of each new model
    of camera. How long will the manufacturers or anyone else support these
    old formats? Ten years down the road, your camera raw files might be

    My own thought on this is that I don't know how long Adobe is going to
    be around, either. Ten years down the road my DNG files might be just
    as obsolete as any other raw files.

    And yes, it is "raw," not "RAW." "RAW" is not an abbreviation for anything.
    C J Campbell, Apr 17, 2011
  12. Troy Piggins

    Eric Stevens Guest

    I share your enthusiasm for non-destructive working with RAW files,
    but I'm using Nikon NX2 for this purpose. The only problem I encounter
    is that NX2 is not what you might call a full capability editor. I can
    only deal with this by converting the edited image to a TIFF to enable
    further editing in other applications.

    Eric Stevens
    Eric Stevens, Apr 17, 2011
  13. Troy Piggins

    Alan Browne Guest

    Alan Browne, Apr 17, 2011
  14. Troy Piggins

    Alfred Molon Guest

    Most newer cameras nowadays save RAW in a (losslessly) compressed
    format, so there are no space savings anymore. Actually this RAW
    compression has been going on for a while. Perhaps you have an old
    Alfred Molon, Apr 17, 2011
  15. Troy Piggins

    Alfred Molon Guest

    I'm not using it, because there is no reason to use it. I have the
    option however to convert everything one day to DNG, should there be a
    need to do so (which at the moment I do not see).

    Having the RAW conversion settings saved to the DNG file is pointless,
    because if you edit the images at a later point and want to back them
    up, you can't just save only the settings - you must save that huge
    multi-MB DNG file. A bit messy if you use optical media for backup.

    In addition, who knows if interesting camera data gets lost during DNG
    Alfred Molon, Apr 17, 2011
  16. Troy Piggins

    Troy Piggins Guest

    * Eric Stevens wrote :
    Same with LR. It does nearly everything I want, but if you need
    layer masks, or stitching panos, or HDR (not that I do HDR,
    shudder, but I assume it's getting common and others do use it),
    you need to export to PS or some other external application with
    a 16 bit TIFF is the best way.
    Troy Piggins, Apr 17, 2011
  17. Troy Piggins

    Troy Piggins Guest

    * C J Campbell wrote :
    Yes, those seem to be the 2 big for and against dilemmas, which
    is what's making it hard for me to commit to one or the other.
    I've had 3 Canon bodies over the last 6 or so years, and IIRC the
    raw file format has been the same in all.

    As I mentioned in another post in this thread, I think both Canon
    and Adobe will be around for a long time, or at least their
    influence and market is widespread enough that going either way
    will be pretty safe to assume there will be support for both
    Canon's raw files and DNG is open-source so development can
    continue without Adobe.

    I think I'm just going to flip a coin, but it'll probably end up
    DNG side up :)
    Perhaps you're correct. Thanks for pointing that out. I'm sure
    I've read it written "RAW" enough times I hadn't really thought
    about what's right and wrong.

    BTW it's "raw", not "raw,", and "RAW", not "RAW.". :)
    Troy Piggins, Apr 17, 2011
  18. Troy Piggins

    Charlie Groh Guest

    ....AP style is "raw," guy named Strunk wrote the book...

    Charlie Groh, Apr 18, 2011
  19. I've been using LR since the beta of v 1, and when I was shooting a lot,
    I'd convert to DNG only when the final edits were done. This was so I
    could readily tell by file type the status of any given shoot. The space
    savings was approximately 18% by converting to DNG; no where near the
    savings Alan indicated.

    The only drawback I found was that at the extremes of color temp, the
    Canon software did a better job on some images. Thus, by keeping them in
    RAW until finished, I preserved that capability.

    I'm pretty sure both Canon and Adobe will be around for a very long
    time, so I feel safe with either format, a touch safer with the DNGs.
    (There's also a list of cameras that output DNG natively, but Nikon and
    Canon aren't among them.)
    John McWilliams, Apr 18, 2011
  20. Holy Cow! "RAW" is the preferred style. Doesn't matter if it's not an
    acronym, FWIW.
    John McWilliams, Apr 18, 2011
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